Animal Activist Success Hits Puppy Millers in Wallets
Big barks out to Mary O'Connor-Shaver and all the folks like her working to end the horror of puppy mills, big or small!
Some of you have been barking in about getting wider attention on this issue and asking how we can do it. Here's one way -- bombard local and national talk shows with the polite suggestion that they look at puppy mills. What would happen if say, Oprah, the Today Show, 60 Minutes, CNN's Lou Dobbs or Anderson Cooper took a long, hard look at puppy mills? We can't all attend the protests but we all can make one computer visit to these shows' sites and make a short suggestion.
Thanks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer for this report.
Activist helps raise cry for ban on dog auctions
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
John HortonPlain Dealer Reporter
One sniff of the cage-filled room at the Buckeye Dog Auction: That's all it took to awaken the activist within Mary O'Connor-Shaver.
The pungent odor - she likened it to smelling a cesspool - launched the Columbus-area woman's crusade to ban dog auctions in Ohio. O'Connor-Shaver called the Aug. 26 dog sale in Holmes County "one of the worst experiences I have ever witnessed."
Since then, she has emerged as one of the many leaders within the state's loose-knit network of animal advocates. She created a Web page - Banohiodogauctions.com - to organize opposition and educate people about what she saw.
On Saturday, she helped gather between 50 and 100 demonstrators who protested that same sale that sickened her last year.
The ultimate goal of O'Connor-Shaver is to drive out the auction and "puppy mills," the term many use to describe harsh, factorylike dog-breeding operations.
Kellie DiFrischia of the Columbus Dog Connection rescue group described O'Connor-Shaver as one of the latest to "pick up the baton" and push the issue forward.
The overall movement seems to have gained influence in Northeast Ohio over the past month.
First, a promise of protests helped scuttle plans to relocate the Buckeye Dog Auction to Middlefield Township in Geauga County.
Next, activists working with O'Connor-Shaver successfully lobbied a Wickliffe hotel to quit renting space for a puppy sale.
The hotel's decision to ban future sales infuriated one of the breeders, whose cell phone number was listed on an advertisement for the sale. The man would not provide his name, citing worries about being targeted by "animal extremists" on a rampage.
The cell phone number is no longer working.
"When they interfere with what you do, when they call you something you're not [such as a puppy mill] . . . that angers me," said the man, who stated that he bred only a few dogs that live in his Lake County home as pets.
But O'Connnor-Shaver was unsympathetic and predicted that the hotel won't be the last sales outlet eliminated. She said that one of the best ways to combat the mass breeders who funnel animals into the multimillion-dollar dog industry is by hitting them in the wallet.
There's also a push in the Ohio legislature to draft a law establishing minimum care standards for kennel dogs and an oversight group to monitor the industry. O'Connor-Shaver critiques Ohio's dog-breeding laws and gives people ways to support the proposed laws on her Web site.
Breeders "should be worried," she said. "They know their days are numbered."
Holmes-area kennel operators have disputed the phrase "puppy mills" to describe their work and say they're operating appropriately. Many in the industry say they regard their breeding dogs as livestock, not pets, and care for them to protect their investment. They describe the caged animals as healthy, with ample supplies of food and water.
Also, the Holmes Dog Warden's Office reported finding few problems -- and no issues of neglect -- while inspecting the county's nearly 500 licensed kennels last year in response to complaints about the industry.